Pests and Diseases forum: Where did the ladybugs go?

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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
Image
Intheswamp
Aug 19, 2017 7:36 AM CST
I had a fair number of ladybugs/ladybirds on my cowpeas earlier in the summer. I had a so-so infestation of aphids on the peas and was really happy to see the ladybugs. As time went by the aphid infestation got worse. I tried soapy water sprayed...carefully dodging ladybugs. The aphids got worse and finally I decided to take what I could get and suffer through the aphids. Naturally there was a strong ant population to go with the aphids.

Now, over the last few weeks I've noticed an absence of ladybugs. They're gone.

Are they seasonal and leave before summer is over? I was thinking they only went dormant went cold weather arrives.

We've had some very hot weather...staying in the low to mid 90F's with high humidity (it's south Alabama, right?)...could that have made them go "dormant" or something? But, we basically had the same temperatures and humidity earlier in the season.

Could the ants have won the battle over the aphids??? Picking peas I get a lot of ants crawling on the peas and my hands/arms. The ants are bad. I don't really want to do it, but I'm about ready to pull the nuclear trigger on the ants in the grassy area around the garden. Hopefully to lower the hordes of ants that are coming into the planted area.

No insecticides, except a little soapy water early in the summer, have been used in the garden. And ladybugs were seen after using the soapy water.

Where'd the ladybugs go? Confused Crying
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
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McCannon
Aug 19, 2017 7:45 AM CST
Aphids secrete honeydew, which is what the ants are after. They "tend to" aphids for a continual supply. I don't know about the ladybugs, but we've had very, very few this year. I'm thinking too many agricultural chemicals since we're adjacent to agricultural farmers.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
Image
Intheswamp
Aug 19, 2017 8:13 AM CST
McCannon said:Aphids secrete honeydew, which is what the ants are after. They "tend to" aphids for a continual supply. I don't know about the ladybugs, but we've had very, very few this year. I'm thinking too many agricultural chemicals since we're adjacent to agricultural farmers.

Yes, I understand the relationship with the aphids and ants...I've gotta get control of the ants and then the aphids will be less of an issue.

I'm far enough away from any row-cropping farming that that shouldn't be an issue here, at least in regards to ladybugs. I *do* have an issue with the State of Alabama's death tanker truck coming along and spraying the ROW (about 200' from the garden) with ???? pesticides. Alabama is big on "Keep Alabama Beautiful"...pays someone a nice penny to make metal signs and then pays employees to post them beside the highways....and at the same time there is a dead band of vegetation right behind the signs running for as for as you can see. If the dead-band isn't evident then a close inspection of the bushes will show mutations of leaves exploding out of the sides of the limbs in a most unnatural way. Oh, and they care not if there is a stream, creek, or river...just spray whatever is growing there, too!!! But, I digress, this is about ladybugs.... Sighing!

I'm going to be in the garden a bit later today and will be checking closely the critter population there...maybe I'll stumble upon the ladybugs having a tea party or something. Smiling
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
Image
McCannon
Aug 19, 2017 9:22 AM CST
I think getting control of the aphids will take care of the ants. No aphids, no honeydew, no ants. Borax and sugar will usually take care of the ants. We have had a big problem with aphids on our milkweed plants. Tried insecticidal soap, no luck. Tried DE, no luck. We had to resort to Sevin. Fortunately no flowers on the milkweed so not a hazard for the pollinators. I hope you get your aphids under control.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
Image
Intheswamp
Aug 19, 2017 9:46 AM CST
The borax and sugar works to a degree...I've used it around bee hives with some success. It depends on whether the ants are looking for carbs or protein. According to the ants I saw working over some watermelon rinds yesterday they are definitely in a carb frenzy right now...and looking at their excellent aphid farming is further confirmation of their carb desires. I may try it on them, but it's a lot more area to cover than a bee hive or a counter-top.

I guess the aphid-ant relationship is kind of like the chicken-and-the-egg relationship. Which came first? I do think, though, that if the aphids did not have the "cultivation" and protection that the ants give them that they would not be so plentiful due to not being herded to the best feeding areas and having no protection against predators. I've tried getting rid of the aphids with soapy water...didn't work.
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling

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